Zhang named Canadian Rising Star

Jin Zhang, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at The University of Western Ontario, has been named a Canadian Rising Star for her work towards developing a non-invasive diagnostic tool for diabetes.

Grand Challenges Canada, a not-for-profit organization chaired by Joseph L. Rotman, announced 19 grants to Canadian innovators in the first phase of its Canadian Rising Stars in Global Health initiative.

“These innovators are dedicated to bringing change to the world’s poorest countries. They believe Canada has a leadership role in improving health conditions in the developing world. Collectively they are a source of pride for our country,” says Peter Singer, chief executive officer of Grand Challenges Canada.

“We are enabling Canadians to make their contribution to global health challenges, in collaboration with colleagues in low- and middle-income countries. Grand Challenges Canada is just beginning to tap that potential.”

In a first for a Canadian grant application process, these innovators each produced a short video to explain their ideas to Canadians. Click here to watch the videos (Zhang’s is at the bottom of thel list).

Through a rigorous peer review process, 19 innovators’ proposals were selected from across Canada, each receiving a grant of $100,000. Their ideas are innovative, plan to address barriers to implementation such as community values and ethics, the health systems required to deliver the discoveries, and cost-effective commercialization of their solutions. Grand Challenges Canada calls this Integrated Innovation, an approach which improves the success rate of discoveries. If their ideas are robust, effective, and proven, the innovators will be eligible for an additional scale–up grant of up to $1 million for each proposal.

Grand Challenges Canada is a new global health organization funded by Canada’s foreign aid budget. Its purpose is to fund research to address some of the most difficult global health issues through Integrated Innovation and save lives. Canada is the first country in the world to adopt a grand challenges approach to foreign aid.